by Tameka White
Periodically, I reflect on the lessons life has taught me. One lesson I’ve learned is that women are from the Earth and men are from another solar system completely…
But, seriously, the old adage rings true: Women are from Venus; Men are from Mars. Many people use this saying to deepen the wedge that sometimes exists between the two sexes, but there is nothing wrong with the differences in men and women. The differences are natural. They are the way we were created. Women are a yin to a man’s yang – and vice versa.
My own Venus and Mars experiences have been a bit complicated. First, I started out as a little girl with no man around. Next, when I became a bit older and one was around, he abused me. Then, when I had children, the deja vu of no father for me re-enacted itself in my own household. I won’t even take you down memory lane into high school and college relationships because on the third strike, you’re out. I’ve had my three strikes and then some. I’m in the friggin’ dugout.
Now, for just as many of those disheartening experiences that I’ve had, I have had men who have been true diamonds in my rough, come into my life and impressed upon me how valuable the relationship between a man and woman can, and should be.
Our experiences shape our perception.
In my experience, men are not reliable; men hurt and disrespect women; and men make life hard. That is a hard perception to erase, even while putting on rose-tinted glasses. Men have disrespected me, and in turn I’ve done the same to them. Times two.
As I was doing some reflecting, (which always seems to happen at the oddest times – driving down the street, walking through the store, etc.), I thought about the relationship between me and another man-to-be in my life – my son. I smile at the thought of him right now because in just a few short minutes, I am taking him to lunch to celebrate a perfect report card for this quarter. But, he and I are not always smiles. He doesn’t always do what I need him to do, he gets loud when he’s upset, and he takes all of my time and money. Sound familiar? Not reliable, disrespectful, and makes life hard.
But then again, what 5 year old isn’t perfect??
In reality, I have a beautiful son, who isn’t perfect, but he sure is close! I exaggerated a bit with him to make a point though – that point being, relationships are reflective and intertwined. It is not new news that our primary relationship with our own parents can be reflected in the relationship with our children. Likewise, the relationships men and women have experienced in their past have a tendency to play out in relationships with other men and women in the present – regardless of age, environment, or relationship. So, if we have no respect for our own father – we likely have limited respect for any other man – be it our significant other or our son. (Men, this applies for the women in your life, too.) Since our experiences shape our perceptions, whatever the subconscious mind has been taught (the part of the mind that is the doer, not the thinker), our thoughts and then actions will follow. We are wired to run on instinct and habit…
…unless we re-wire those instincts and change those habits.
It is possible because I am doing it right now. I am forever in gratitude to my son because he teaches me what I am still learning, helps me put an end to some damaged family pathologies, and builds me up as I am nurturing him into a young man to be proud of.
So, when you have your lunch today, be reminded of me and my son enjoying some seafood from the Rivermarket downtown in celebration of a job well done in school. Then, be reminded of your own relationships with the men and women around you…and hopefully, you can celebrate a job well done – in life!